There are just a couple of days left of National Picnic Week, so if you haven’t had a chance to enjoy a meal outside, now is the perfect excuse to do so. While having a barbecue or enjoying your evening meal out in the garden are great ways to make the most of the summer weather, there really is nothing like heading out for a picnic.
Whether you go to the park, spend the day at the beach or decide to explore a new place with picnic basket in hand, you can’t deny that there’s a bit of an art to perfecting the picnic. It may be easy to grab a meal deal at the local supermarket, but does anyone really want to settle onto wet grass with a soggy sandwich?
We’re big fans of the planned picnic, especially as they mean you’re prepared for all eventualities – ideal considering what the British weather can be like. Whether you’re a picnic newbie or consider yourself to be a bit of connoisseur, we’ve got some tips that can help you perfect your skills and do National Picnic Week right.
Take a spare blanket
No one wants to stand up from relaxing at a picnic to find that their clothes are wet because the damp grass has soaked through the blanket. Not only can this look a bit silly, but it can also be fairly uncomfortable for the rest of the day.
Keep everyone dry by packing an extra picnic blanket so you can layer them up and reduce the chances of damp patches. Plus, it means you’ve got a blanket for wrapping around anyone who starts to feel the chill.
Be prepared for rubbish
You probably always think about the bag for putting rubbish in at the end of your picnic, but what about dirty plates, cutlery and cups? It’s always a good idea to take a few spare bags along with you so you don’t end up having to mix clean and dirty plates and forks together – after all, know one likes having to fish dirty cutlery out of the bottom of the picnic basket.
Don't forget the ice cubes
On a hot day, enjoying a cold drink is a definite must. However, this is often easier said than done when heading out on a picnic. While you can chill your drinks before leaving, unless you’re just going around the corner or are willing to carry a huge chill box with you, your drinks will probably warm up a bit before you get to your picnic spot.
However, you can solve the issue simply by taking a thermos of ice cubes with you. They’ll melt slower and help chill your drinks so you can sit back in the sun without overheating.
Pack easy-to-eat food
Of course, one of the most important things when it comes to picnics is the food. You need to make sure you pack foods that are easy to keep in one piece, simple to eat and that don’t result in a lot of mess – especially if kids are involved!
As great as salad might be – not to mention healthy – it’s fairly difficult to pack without something going wrong. Even if you do have containers with matching lids, you’ll probably find something leaks. Instead, opt for foods that can be eaten with your hands and minimal cutlery.
Things like pasties, scotch eggs, chicken legs and pies are great options, especially as they are easy to package up. If you want something a bit different, you’ll find some great recipe ideas here.
Keep the bugs away
No one wants to have to pick ants off their food or swat away flies while trying to enjoy a picnic. Unfortunately, getting bugs to back off your picnic can be a difficult task. If you’re in an area that allows barbecues, you can try lighting an outdoor citronella candle, which helps drive off the creepy crawlies. However, you’ll need to be extra careful not to knock it over and only use it if it is allowed in your picnic area.
Alternatively, you can make your picnic area less appealing for creepy crawlies by spraying mint breath freshener around, which seems to drive them off. You can also distract bugs by setting up a cup of sugar water away from your picnic, which is going to be a lot more enticing than a bag of crisps.
Don't forget the entertainment
Part of the fun of a picnic is getting to enjoy being outside, so don’t forget to make the most of the weather. As well as your food and drink, be sure to pack some fun and games too.
Frisbees, tennis, rounders and anything else you can think of are all great ways to make your picnic last a bit longer, so long as you play them well away from the food! Even easy card games can be a good choice if you’d rather just chill out.